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AAP removes Sukhpal Singh Khaira as Leader of Opposition in Punjab; appoints Dalit face Harpal Cheema

Meanwhile, Punjab AAP co-president Balbir Singh welcomed the move, saying it was a decision of AAP legislators from the state.

Reported by: PTI, Chandigarh [ Updated: July 26, 2018 23:19 IST ]
Image Source : TWITTER

Sukhpal Singh Khaira (C)

Just a year after he was appointed as the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday removed its firebrand leader and Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the post.

The party has named Dirba MLA Harpal Singh Cheema, a Dalit face, as the new LoP.

"AAP has decided to change its leader of opposition in Punjab. Shri Harpal Singh Cheema, MLA Dirba constituency shall be Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly," senior party leader and in-charge of its Punjab affairs Manish Sisodia tweeted.

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However, in his tweet, Sisodia gave no reason for Khaira's removal.  

Reacting to his removal, Khaira said he discharged his duty with utmost sincerity and accused party's senior leadership of doing what the Congress and the SAD-BJP wanted.

He also said that he was prepared to let go 100 such posts for the sake of Punjab.

"I have discharged my duty as LoP with uttermost sincerity, dedication n fearlessness towards PB n Punjabis. If speaking d truth n espousing d cause of PB, Punjabis n Sikhs cost me LoP I'm prepared let go 100 such positions. Those at d helm have done what Cong-Sad-Bjp wanted (sic)," Khaira said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Punjab AAP co-president Balbir Singh welcomed the move, saying it was a decision of AAP legislators from the state.

"Whatever decision was taken by the MLAs of Aam Aadmi party, I welcome it. This is called internal democracy of the party," said Balbir.

Khaira's removal comes days after he had accused Balbir Singh of making false allegations on him that he was accepting money from party workers.

A few days ago, Khaira, in a Facebook post had said that he had come to know from a party worker that Singh had accused him of taking money from them.

Last month, Khaira's purported statement on 'Referendum 2020', a movement initiated by a US based advocacy group 'Sikhs For Justice' for a separate Sikh state, had also left AAP leaders red-faced. 

Sisodia had reportedly rebuked Khaira and had asked him to come clean on it.

When AAP's national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwal had recently tendered an apology to Akali leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia for accusing them of being involved in drugs trade, Khaira was vocal against the apology and had expressed his disappointment over it.

As the Leader of Opposition, Khaira took on ruling Congress and Akalis and over the issue of drugs and illegal sand mining.

Khaira was unanimously elected as Leader of Opposition on July 2017 after Dakha legislator and noted lawyer H S Phoolka tendered his resignation from the post. Khaira, a former Congressman, had joined the AAP in year 2015.

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